More than 10,000 protestors, including current and former Knesset members, gathered in Habima Square in Tel Aviv to protest changes proposed by Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin to Israel’s judicial laws.
Some of the protestors called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “dangerous, corrupt and racist.”
Among the demonstrators were members of the left-wing Standing Together group, and other similar organizations, which marched in the square toward the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to hold a rally there. Rally organizers advertised the protest to those who are “against the coup d’etat carried out by the criminal government which threatens to harm all citizens whoever they are.”
Other anti-reform demonstrators held a torchlight march through the streets of the city.
On Wednesday, the justice minister announced a controversial legal reform package that would drastically limit the authority of Israel’s High Court of Justice to block legislation and government decisions deemed discriminatory or undemocratic. The reforms would also give the government control over judicial selection and expel ministry legal advisors appointed by the attorney general.
In a joint statement issued on Saturday, Standing Together and the “Crime Minister” protest group charged that “extreme and dangerous elements in the new government” are trying to “harm us all.”
They accused the ruling coalition of targeting Arabs and discriminating on the basis of both gender and sexuality.
“We won’t sit at home twiddling our thumbs and we won’t lose out to despair and frustration. Wherever there is a battle, there is hope, and we will go out and struggle for our home,” the protestors said in a statement.
The protestors complained that the new coalition’s agreements, signed prior to the government’s swearing-in, call for legislation that would allow service providers to refuse service on the grounds of their religious beliefs.
Critics are concerned that this would lead to discrimination against minorities, LGBTQ people and others.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.